So, yay, Ohio beer that I can't get in Louisiana! Acquired: Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA, Chatoe Rogue First Growth Wet Hop Ale, Goose Island Winter Mild, Dogfish Head Raison d'Etre, and a few Goose Island Reserve Ales: Sofie, Matilda, and Pere Jacques.
Have not busted into the Goose Island Matilda yet, but here are some quick thoughts on the ones that were sampled:
Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA: a solid, tasty IPA. Hoppy with citrus notes. Very drinkable and a beer I almost always reach for when I come visiting this part of the world. Apparently Great Lakes makes a small batch of a Christmas Ale that is supposed to be amazing, but we couldn't find it. Sad! But we had others to drink so sadness was tempered.
Dogfish Head Raison d'Etre: I was feeling nostalgic for this while watching Brewmasters (though I would have been more psyched to see Indian Brown Ale). A Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Dried fruit aromas and sweetness on the tongue, balanced by a nice hoppy bitterness. It's a nice beer to curl up with on a wintry evening. At 8% ABV, it'll warm ya.
Goose Island Mild Winter: as I am a fan of the New Orleans-style mild winters, this beer delivered on a super smooth and generally awesome beer. It's a rye beer, so... YAY, of course. Dark but not heavy, it is just a great tasting beer that's easy to drink and balanced and as delightful as 70 degree days in December.
Chatoe Rogue First Growth Wet Hop Ale: Chatoe Rogue is Rogue Brewing's label for the beers they brew with hops and grains they themselves grow and harvest. As Tom mentioned, it's interesting to see breweries getting all "terroir-y" since beer has not really been thought in those terms before. The Wet Hop Ale was brewed with Freedom, Revolution, Independence, Rebel, and Liberty Hops. (Tom again: "are the Rogue folks in the Tea Party?" Literally Going Rogue, maybe?) Quite a nice beer, but didn't really deliver on the Wet Hop freshness in aroma and taste that the name promised. Maybe we got it late?
Goose Island bomber #1: Pere Jacques. A straight up, no joke Abby style ale. Very smooth, very drinkable, my sister freaking loved it. I drank it much quicker than I meant to. Oops!
Goose Island Bomber #2: Sofie. Wow, this was like a breath of fresh air from all the darker beers we had going. Poured as golden as the sun; this beer is aged with orange peel in wine barrels and it is phenomenal. It's fermented by wild yeast, so it's slightly funky but subtly so. It's got a real fruit finish at the end, my brother in law remarked that it reminded him of pineapple. I definitely got a fruitness, but I tasted more citrus (orange, lemon) than tropical. It was so good. I would like to ship some home now please. It's a Belgian Farmhouse style, clocking in at 6.5%.
So, we're definitely taking advantage of being in a different beer distribution region of the country, and enjoying it greatly. Not to cast aspersions on beer back home; the night before we left we had an amazing NOLA Brewing Hopitoulous Ale on cask, dryhopped with Citra and Nelson Sauvin (a New Zealand hop.) Man, that was so good- the hops were beautiful in both the aroma and the taste, and the beer just went down so smooth. The Avenue was also pouring 4 oz. tastes of Sam Adams Infinium and Brookyn Brewing Black Ops. They also had a few Belgian Christmas ales still on and we tried them both: Slaapmutkse Kermutske Christmas Nightcap and the Saint-Germain Page 24 Réserve Hildegarde Ambrée, a Biere de Garde. Both amazing. New Orleans sent us off to Ohio with a bang, and we will always remember, "there's no place like home."
But it can be fun to visit and try new beers!
Merry Christmas, y'all!